Next-generation fibre-optic gyroscopes, waste-heat recovery systems, germanium-tin quantum detectors and an affordable solar home for use in rural India are among the research areas to be supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering, which has announced 18 new engineering Research Fellowships, with each awardee receiving five years’ worth of funding and mentorship to advance their research careers.

(l-r) Dr Ruy Sebastian Bonilla, Dr Richard James Colchester, Dr Joao Henriques, Dr Alexander John Knowles, Dr Richard Paul Middlemiss, Dr Ross William Millar

Five of the awards have been made as part of the Academy’s Engineering for Development Research Fellowships. Funded through the government’s Global Challenges Research Fund, these fellowships are awarded to research projects that directly tackle the challenges faced by developing countries and highlight the vital role of engineering in achieving sustainable global development.

The Academy’s Research Fellowships are designed to advance excellence in engineering by enabling early-career researchers to concentrate on basic research in any field of engineering. Awardees also receive mentoring from experienced Academy Fellows, providing valuable advice and industry links that will enable the researchers to establish themselves as future leaders in their fields.

(l-r) Dr Christopher Ness, Dr Eric Rodrigue Numkam Fokoua, Dr Chaitanya Choudary Paruchuri, Dr Michael Thompson, Dr Martin White, Dr Wenchuan Wu

Professor Philip Nelson CBE FREng, Chair of the Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowships Steering Group, says:

"I am delighted to announce these five-year Research Fellowships to 18 of the most promising engineering academics working in the UK today. Engineering research plays a vital role in addressing societal and industrial challenges, both today and in the future, and the variety and impact of the research being done by these awardees demonstrates the depth and breadth of world-leading engineering expertise we have within our universities.

"We have been able to appoint a record number of new engineering Research Fellowships this year, thanks to the government’s Investment in Research Talent initiative, which has provided the Academy with a significant increase in funding over the next few years to attract and retain the best research talent in the UK and support their work."

Dr Daniel Adam Zabek, Dr Oluwasola Olakunle Daniel Afolabi, Dr Efstratios Batzelis, Dr Wei He, Dr Marta Vignola, Dr Tingting Zhu

The full list of Research Fellows and their projects is as follows:

Research Fellowships

Dr Ruy Sebastian Bonilla, University of Oxford

  • Ion-charged Dielectrics for Next Generation Electronic Devices

Dr Richard James Colchester, University College London

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  • High-fidelity, Miniaturised, Endoscopic, Multi-modality, All-optical Ultrasound Imaging Platform

Dr Joao Henriques, University of Oxford

  • MEMO – Meta-learning Enhanced Memorization in One-shot

Dr Alexander John Knowles, University of Birmingham

  • Titanium, Steel and Tungsten Superalloys: Engineering Fracture and Irradiation Resistance

Dr Richard Paul Middlemiss, University of Glasgow

  • Microscopic Semi-Absolute Pendulum Gravimeter

Dr Ross William Millar, University of Glasgow

  • Germanium-Tin Quantum Detectors

Dr Christopher Ness, University of Edinburgh

  • Illuminating Forces in Suspensions: Pathways to Rational Formulation and Processing

Dr Eric Rodrigue Numkam Fokoua, University of Southampton

  • Next-generation Fibre-optic Gyroscopes for Ultraprecise Positioning

Dr Chaitanya Choudary Paruchuri, University of Southampton

  • Characterisation and Control of Tip Noise in Ducted Fans

Dr Michael Thompson, Lancaster University

  • Graphene Transistors for Cryogenic Electronics

Dr Martin White, City, University of London

  • Next Generation Waste-heat Recovery Systems Based on Two-phase Expansion

Dr Wenchuan Wu, University of Oxford

  • Rapid Mapping of Brain Connectivity and Microstructure Using Diffusion MRI

Dr Daniel Adam Zabek, Cardiff University

  • Manufacturing a New Class of Ferrofluids for Thermomagnetic Convection Enhanced Heat Transfer, Energy Generation and Storage

Engineering for Development Research Fellowships

Dr Oluwasola Olakunle Daniel Afolabi, Loughborough University

  • Advanced Technological Synergy for Renewable Energy Production in Sub-Saharan Africa

Dr Efstratios Batzelis, Imperial College London

  • Addressing the Solar Integration Challenges in Developing Countries

Dr Wei He, University of Warwick

  • Smart Multi-Functional Affordable Solar Home for Rural India

Dr Marta Vignola, University of Glasgow

  • Eco-engineered Biofilters for Sustainable Removal of Pesticides in Drinking Water

Dr Tingting Zhu, University of Oxford

  • A Clinical AI for Tackling Multimorbidities in Hospitals in low- and middle-income countries


Notes to editors

1. The Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowships and Engineering for Development Research

Fellowships support early-career researchers to establish successful research careers and become future research leaders in their fields. The scheme provides funding for five years to allow awardees the freedom to concentrate on basic research in any field of engineering and establish a track record in the field. Funding for the Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowships is provided by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Engineering for Development Research Fellowships through the government’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).

The scheme is currently open for applications until Monday 23 September 2019. For more information, please visit:

RAEng Research Fellowships

2. Royal Academy of Engineering

As the UK’s national academy for engineering and technology, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers from academia and business – our Fellows – to advance and promote excellence in engineering for the benefit of society.

We harness their experience and expertise to provide independent advice to government, to deliver programmes that help exceptional engineering researchers and innovators realise their potential, to engage the public with engineering and to provide leadership for the profession.

We have three strategic priorities:

  • Make the UK the leading nation for engineering innovation and businesses
  • Address the engineering skills and diversity challenge
  • Position engineering at the heart of society

We bring together engineers, policy makers, entrepreneurs, business leaders, academics, educators and the public in pursuit of these goals.

Engineering is a global profession, so we work with partners across the world to advance engineering’s contribution to society on an international, as well as a national scale.

For more information please contact:

  • Jane Sutton at the Royal Academy of Engineering
  • T: 020 7766 0636
  • E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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